Success and Happiness

So for a long time I thought that accomplishing a goal was something to celebrate, something to rejoice in, and something that means you could now take some time off and relax.

I heard stories of guys like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, how the day after they win championships they’re getting up and going to the gym at 6:30 in the morning.  No time off, no big celebration, no relaxing.  I always thought that they weren’t allowing themselves to enjoy their victories and relish in what they’d accomplished, and instead being too focused on some other future target.

But that line of thinking came from not understanding about success, and how the path to success can lead to happiness.  I thought you were supposed to work towards something, then stop and enjoy, then work towards something again, and then stop and enjoy what you’ve done.

I feel like a certain part of this comes from the conditioning of society and the way that our working world is set-up; i.e. that you bust your ass in your job all month and all year long just so that you can go and take your two separate week long vacations in the Caribbean, and that is the enjoyment, that is what you had been working and sacrificing for: to lie around in the sun.

For me though, what I’ve learned lately is that life is about the practice.  Life is about working and growing and how you build towards this on a day-to-day basis. If there’s one thing that I’ve really internalized in the past few months of taking a very proactive, work hard approach, it’s that life and happiness is about learning, growing, and what you’re doing to accomplish your goals, not the goals themselves.

You can see it on the faces of kids who are learning how to walk or learning how to talk or learning how to do any number of things that are necessary for functioning as a human being.

And then you can see it in adults too, where those that typically seem the happiest with their lives are those that are constantly pushing themselves and growing and learning new things by overcoming obstacles; the ones who understand and value the importance of going through the day to day grind in the effort of a greater future whole.

On the other hand, the ones who turn off the learning part of their brain and don’t proactively try to better their selves or accomplish goals sink into the petty things and become unhappy and dissatisfied.

Over time this could lead to disillusionment, where people don’t know what’s going on because they’re no longer engaged with the world.  And they may be unhappy because life hasn’t given them what they want, not realizing that you need to be engaged with the world so that you can respond appropriately when you need to direct your life in the direction you want it to go.

I’ve now learned that although you should take pride in accomplishing a goal, completed goals are not stopping points, but rather just benchmarks along the path.  The true happiness comes through the act of trying to achieve them and overcoming the obstacles that come up, not finally having them achieved.

But then again I don’t want to make it sound like I think this is the only ‘correct’ path available.  It has its pros and cons just like anything else.  When you have this life set-up and you have these goals that you need to get accomplished, it’s going to cut into your social life.  You may find yourself at 9 pm on a Saturday night going to the gym just because you had made the commitment to do so and that was the only time you could fit it in.

Living this life you may at times make you wonder why you chose such absurdity, when just chilling with friends and hanging out would be so much easier and possibly more fun.  And different things work for different people.  I know that for me personally despite the occasional loneliness that can come with this sort of path, too much just hanging out with friends would leave me bored and itching for something to do.  And I guess that’s how you know which one is right for you.

And for anyone reading I wanna know what you thought!  Do you agree with what I said? What type of path are you on?  Are you happy doing it?  I wanna hear about it!!


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3 responses to “Success and Happiness”

  1. adifferentpace says :

    And yes I know I wanted to do a blog post every day for the month of April, but I figured this would be a better quality of quantity goal…so enjoy 🙂

  2. Dmitriy says :

    Very difficult questions to answer at least for me. Trying to find what makes you happy in a work happy sort of way is challenging. So far, I have not yet managed to find something I can do, get paid for, and would actually enjoy doing. I guess some people know who they want to be almost since birth, others spend their lifetime figuring this question out. I’d say the vast majority of people would rather have a different occupation than they actually have. Like someone who works in the retail industry, say from fast food to gas station to grocery store to bank teller..etc.. I for one feel miserable working these particular jobs, it makes me feel like a robot/slave. Yet we still need people to fill these roles in our lives so the life as we know it can commence. We are after all a consumer based economy. I guess the one perk with working a job that makes you feel shitty is looking forward to the weekend lol. I for one sell used cars and do light repair work. Business sucks, people don’t have money to buy cars, and the amount of used cars has decreased substantially meaning higher prices both for me to buy the car wholesale and in turn for the retail customer that I sell the car to. I for one would love to do something else with my time, but the mighty question of what do I do. What interests me? Well I guess I should rephrase that. What interests me and can earn me a living? I’ve been pondering this question for years and feel I am only a little closer to answering it now then, say when I was graduating from High School. I do know more about the kinds of things I def. don’t wanna do with my life. But that doesn’t necessarily help. People may say go to college earn a degree, well that’s great, but who is gonna guarantee me a job if i graduate? College is expensive, I have an associates from Hudson Valley in Criminal Justice that’s about as good as T.P. or a Napkin. There are more and more graduates from college working in the retail industry I mentioned earlier to try to pay off their student loans because they can’t find jobs. I am not a social human being by nature, I would rather do it myself than ask someone for help but that’s just me. I guess I was passionate about working out and thought about personal training in the past, but ever since my injury leaving me with a half disabled shoulder things kind of fell out of place. I guess it’s finding that passion going with it and hopefully it brings in enough capital to put food on the table. But right now I feel like I am just floating on in life, no plan, just winging it. I know I know not a good plan……..but I am open to suggestions and ideas.

    • adifferentpace says :

      Umm yea I feel as though finding your life plan isn’t something that you think and think and think about and then all of a sudden ‘AHA’ you’ve found it. I’ve tried this method for a while and never got anywhere but indecisiveness, hesiation, and conflicting ideas.

      In my opinion it’s more something that you work towards over time. OK, so the job you’re in right now isn’t your ideal job, but you should still do it to the absolute best of your ability. Everything is practice for the big show. If you bullshit your way through this job then you’re just training yourself to half-ass your work.

      And really you just gotta pick something and go for it. Most people live their lives waiting for passion to strike them, and most people then end up waiting their entire lives. Rather than waiting for passion to just arrive at your doorstep, it can be much better to just take something and give passion to it. It doesn’t matter so much what it is so long as it jives well with you.

      Then once you have it the fulfillment comes from working towards it everyday. Everything you do in every day done to help serve a purpose and a larger goal in mind, that way everything you do is meaningful and enjoyable, because you know that what you’re doing is much bigger than the one task at hand.

      Begin with the end in mind. Really craft out how you want your life to look down the road. Write your own funeral eulogy. What do you want people to say about you? What do you want to have accomplished? Start with that, then figure out how to get there.

      You can spend your whole life being indecisive, but in the end you just need to pick something and go with it.

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